Xu Jiayin, the founder of Chinese developer Evergrande, replaced Dalian Wanda Group founder Wang Jianlin as the country’s richest person, even though his company has over $100 billion in debt.
Xu’s wealth quadrupled to $43 billion this year, according to the Hurun Report, China’s best-known list of wealthy individuals, the Macau Daily Times reported.
Though Evergrande has a market value of $47 billion, its total debt is over $100 billion. The real estate developer is taking steps to reduce its debt, pledging to chop its net debt ratio to around 70 percent by June 2020 from 240 percent. Evergrande, based in Guangzhou, is now the country’s third largest developer by sales.
Wanda’s Wang, meanwhile, fell from the No. 1 spot on Hurun’s list he had held since 2013 to fifth place as his wealth diminished by 28 percent to $23 billion.
Tech titan Pony Ma of the internet company Tecent ranked as China’s second-wealthiest person with net worth valued at $37 billion, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma took third place on the list with $30 billion.
Huron found 647 billionaires in China, accounting for 36 percent of the world’s total. The country had no billionaires as of 2003.
But Hurun CEO Rupert Hoogewerf said it’s hard to find some of the wealthiest Chinese because they go to “extraordinary lengths” to hide their wealth.
“For every one we have found, we estimate there to be two that we have missed,” he said. [Macau Daily] – Rich Bockmann